The typical chicken and beef-flavored ramen just aren’t cutting it anymore! The go-to broke college student meal needs a pick-me-up so that your daily lifestyle doesn’t get boring. These are some cheap, easy ways to elevate your ramen so that you don’t get tired of eating the same meal every time.
Eggs are high in protein and are extremely versatile. For those who have access to stoves, making a fried egg or an over-easy egg is the best way to add extra creaminess with a broken yolk. Students that are in dorm rooms, cooking your egg on top of your noodles while microwaving is a great way to cook it, too! You can scramble it as well or leave it as a sunny-side-up egg. Just make sure that the egg is cooked all the way. For those that are nervous about mixing it or would like their egg cooked extra using the microwave, get a separate plate to microwave that egg in and add it into the noodles after both are done cooking.
You could also sausage, bacon bits, or ham. Those proteins, as well as deli meats, could also go well for those that do not have access to a stovetop. Adding your choice of meat on top of an egg is a great combination to really add variance to your regular ramen.
Condiments like hot sauce and especially Chinese hot oil go perfectly to add extra flavoring to your ramen. If you’ve read my previous article about the vanilla ice cream and hot oil trend, the Lao Gan Ma hot oil used in that trend is best for ramen too! There are other condiments like minced garlic, onion powder, and sriracha that go well with the broth if you’re somebody that likes broth. If you don’t like broth, remember to use the condiments sparingly as there isn’t any dilution to them without the broth. If you’d like to add a little Thai influence, adding lime to your ramen broth creates a little tang to your noodles that is similar to a Tom Yum flavored soup. Cheese is also a great topping to your ramen. It is typically Korean style to add cheese to ramen, but it can really go with any style of noodles. Sharp cheddar is the best cheese to add. Let it melt a little bit with the steaming noodles, and enjoy your delectable elevated noodles. However, only add what would go well together. Lime and cheese wouldn’t be the best combination depending on your preference, but it’s up to you!
Most vegetables would require a countertop to prepare to add to the noodles. Spinach or canned corn would probably be the easiest alternative for those that don’t have a countertop as it does not need preparation and can be added to be cooked with the broth or the steam from the noodles. Green onions go great with ramen. Little slices in the broth add the perfect aroma as well as slight onion flavor. Fresh chili peppers are a great addition in case you’d prefer a fresh, hot taste over hot oil or hot sauce flavor. Those would need to sit in the broth for a little to add to the aroma and flavor of the noodles as a whole.
My Go-To Ramen
Personally, I don’t use the Top Ramen or Maruchan brand. My go-to brand is JinRamen, a Korean brand. This brand would only be found in an international market or online. It isn’t as cheap as Top Ramen or Maruchan, so this is a brand if you want to treat yourself or have the extra few cents/dollars to try a new brand. JinRamen comes in mild or hot spice, there isn’t a flavor without spice (sorry to those that don’t like spice!). Fortunately, I have access to a stovetop, so I boil my noodles and then drain them for a drier noodle. This ramen is meant to be served with broth, but I personally prefer my homemade ramen without broth (unless it’s the traditional Japanese kind). Adding the aromatics first, I cook sliced green onions, minced garlic, and diced white or yellow onions with sesame oil in a pan. Use as much as you prefer for each ingredient, I honestly don’t use measurements. Add the noodles and use half the packet of flavoring as there is no broth to dilute the flavoring. I like to add an over-easy egg using a separate pan. After setting up my plate with the noodles, add the egg and a slice of cheese. Bon appétit!
There are several ways you can go about elevating your ramen. You don’t have to go all the way and add everything you possibly can to your ramen. Do it however you prefer it! If you’re not the type to venture out, start by adding condiments as those take the least work and can vary more depending on your preference for taste. Have fun experimenting with your tastebuds!